Warlord of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 87

no queen has sat upon the
throne beside me, and now it suits me to take to wife one who is
reputed the most beautiful woman upon Barsoom. A statement which
none may truthfully deny.

"Nobles of Okar, unsheathe your swords and do homage to Dejah Thoris,
Princess of Helium and future Queen of Okar, for at the end of the
allotted ten days she shall become the wife of Salensus Oll."

As the nobles drew their blades and lifted them on high, in
accordance with the ancient custom of Okar when a jeddak announces
his intention to wed, Dejah Thoris sprang to her feet and, raising
her hand aloft, cried in a loud voice that they desist.

"I may not be the wife of Salensus Oll," she pleaded, "for already I
be a wife and mother. John Carter, Prince of Helium, still lives.
I know it to be true, for I overheard Matai Shang tell his daughter
Phaidor that he had seen him in Kaor, at the court of Kulan Tith,
Jeddak. A jeddak does not wed a married woman, nor will Salensus
Oll thus violate the bonds of matrimony."

Salensus Oll turned upon Thurid with an ugly look.

"Is this the surprise you held in store for me?" he cried. "You
assured me that no obstacle which might not be easily overcome stood
between me and this woman, and now I find that the one insuperable
obstacle intervenes. What mean you, man? What have you to say?"

"And should I deliver John Carter into your hands, Salensus Oll,
would you not feel that I had more than satisfied the promise that
I made you?" answered Thurid.

"Talk not like a fool," cried the enraged jeddak. "I am no child
to be thus played with."

"I am talking only as a man who knows," replied Thurid. "Knows
that he can do all that he claims."

"Then turn John Carter over to me within ten days or yourself
suffer the end that I should mete out to him were he in my power!"
snapped the Jeddak of Jeddaks, with an ugly scowl.

"You need not wait ten days, Salensus Oll," replied Thurid; and
then, turning suddenly upon me as he extended a pointing finger,
he cried: "There stands John Carter, Prince of Helium!"

"Fool!" shrieked Salensus Oll. "Fool! John Carter is a white
man. This fellow be as yellow as myself. John Carter's face is
smooth--Matai Shang has described him to me. This prisoner has
a beard and mustache as large and black as

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